People at AMAG

«Electric cars are not that expensive!»

Mathias Gabler, Managing Director of AMAG Retail, reveals his vision in terms of electro-mobility, what the major challenges along the way are and what has been his personal electric car highlight so far.

Mathias Gable, it is the year 2030. How is it looking for AMAG Retail in terms of electric cars?

Mathias Gabler: We are selling 80 percent electric cars, both new and used cars, and offer our customers excellent advice and comprehensive service both in person and online, from charging stations in the home, including photovoltaic systems, to free chargers in our dealerships, charging cards, corporate consultancy and all services relating to e-mobility. We are also CO2-neutral and over 90 percent of our fleet are electric cards.

By when will the AMAG fleet be fully electric?

It will probably never be completely electric, we will always have customers who prefer combustion engines or need a combustion engine car as a spare vehicle. But as of 2025, 50 percent of new cars should be rechargeable, and the majority of cars in our workshops will be as of 2030. 

What is your overall vision when it comes to electro-mobility?

Electric cars will be part of a whole system. Switzerland is planning an energy revolution, moving away from nuclear energy towards renewable energy. This could be, for example, solar power, but this can only be produced during the day when there is sunshine, and we need power overnight and during the winter too. That means we need to be able to store this power somehow. This is where the next generation of electric cars come in, if their energy stores, i.e. their batteries, could not only take in energy but also feed it back into the grid if necessary using smart grid technology. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing AMAG Retail?

We need to adapt our business model. The technological revolution (driverless cars, digitalisation, subscription models, e-mobility, etc.) is a challenge for the whole industry. We think that we have the right foundations in place for these changes, but we need to develop as a country, as do our employees. Some job profiles will need to be adapted, sales, service advice, mechanics, etc. Customer focus and employee skills are always our biggest challenges, both now and in the future.

And what challenges does Switzerland face as a country?

Switzerland is well on the way, the proportion of electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars, also known as BEV and PHEV, is increasing rapidly. But we need clear charging solutions that the majority of Swiss people can access. 


I find the comfort and performance unbelievably good, whether it’s a VW ID.4, a Škoda Enyaq iV or an Audi e-tron!

Mathias Gabler, Managing Director AMAG Retail


How prepared are Swiss people to switch over to electric cars?

With the latest ranges, very much so! Those who travel long distances a lot still have some concerns, as do those customers who cannot easily install a wall-box at home or charge a car at work. 

Electric cars are still too expensive for some. When do you think the price level will have stabilised?

Electric cars are not that expensive! A Škoda Enyaq iV, for example, costs the same as the Škoda Karoq, a comparable combustion model. The Audi Q4 BEV model is also at the same price level as the equivalent combustion SUV. So I think we are already at a good price level. And it will get even better! The lower maintenance costs and lower «fuel» prices for electric cars should also be emphasized.

AMAG Retail has electric cars, hybrid cars and plug-in hybrid cars in its range. How long will the last two be available?

Probably another couple of years, but as of 2025, the VW group will be almost exclusively selling electric cars. But plug-in hybrids are a good alternative, at least if you charge properly and drive in electric mode as much as possible. But the petrol engine is there as required for longer trips.

What do you think about hydrogen cars?

The VW group’s strategy is primarily focussed on electric cars. For us, hydrogen is not a priority, there are still plenty of issues to resolve in this area, including transporting the hydrogen, refuelling, etc. We think that most countries in Europe will not be able to invest in lots of different technologies at once. At the moment, electro-mobility is clearly the preferred option for passenger cars

What car do you drive?

At the moment, it's an Audi Q8 plug-in hybrid, and I’m waiting for an Audi e-tron GT. I’m really looking forward to it! 

How quickly did you get to grips with the new world of electro-mobility on an everyday basis?

Pretty quickly, I am fortunate that I can charge up at any garage, or at work. I find the comfort and performance unbelievably good, whether it’s a VW ID.4, a Škoda Enyaq iV or an Audi e-tron!

Have you ever done a long trip in an electric car?

Yes, I once drove from Vevey to South Tirol and it was an amazing experience! And of course, it was only possible thanks to the extraordinary range. With modern electric cars that have a genuine range of over 400 kilometres, you can drive them like combustion engine cars in 90 percent of all situations. But with a smoother ride, better performance and more comfort. 



This interview was conducted in May 2021.

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